Accessibility of Public Sector Websites: Are you ready?

Following a consultation earlier this year, the government is implementing new regulations to make public sector websites and apps accessible to everyone, especially users with disabilities. The regulations are part of an EU directive. In order to comply, web sites must meet the requirements set out in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at level AA.

Our ESB Agile platform has been built with accessibility by design, and the ongoing improvement of accessibility continues to be an important part of the product’s development. This is particularly relevant as accessibility standards and technologies are constantly evolving.

It is important to remember however that accessibility is not just about choosing the right technology platform: Accessibility is a set of principals that affect every aspect of the design and ongoing maintenance of on-line services – from selecting suitably contrasting colours to utilising simple, straight-forward language. A crucial part of improving accessibility is to improve the awareness among software suppliers, web designers and system administrators.

Accessibility Audit

If you are an existing user of the ESB Agile platform you are already well on your way to being fully compliant with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. However, accessibility is not just about the platform – it is also influenced by the design of your forms and your overall web site design, including any custom styling for things like headers, footers and colour schemes. A poorly-designed ESB form can still violate the accessibility guidelines – even though the platform itself is compliant. For this reason we are offering our customers an audit of their on-line forms to identify any compliance issues and to provide help and advice to enable full compliance. Please contact your account manager for more information.

Not already an ESB user?

If you don’t currently use ESB to provide your on-line forms we can still provide advice to help you comply – just contact us to discuss your requirements.

The Pentagull Difference

At Pentagull we take a hands-on approach to building accessible products which includes considerable real-world testing using a range of assistive technologies and operating systems. All of our products – including both web-based and mobile apps, are tested for accessibility by real people using a range of real devices. A lot of software suppliers focus on the public-facing parts of their products but neglect the back-office elements that are accessed by local authority employees. By contrast, every aspect of the ESB Agile platform – including all the back-office and configuration areas of the system – are designed to be fully accessible. We are extremely proud of this achievement and believe that we are one of the few software suppliers who take a truly inclusive and universal approach to accessibility.

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